cerebral palsy

The Perfect Way My Daughter Described Her Friend Who Uses a Wheelchair


This year, at our first night’s seder, my 11-year-old daughter declared her desire to find the afikomen. You see, she informed me, this would be her only chance.

Puzzled, I asked why. After all, we were heading to a friend’s home for the second night, and there would most certainly be an afikomen hunt there, as well.

(Back story: The friends we celebrate Passover with have one son, Josh, who has Cerebral Palsy. I have written about him and my children’s relationship with him before. Our families have been celebrating second seder together for the past few years.)

So I asked my daughter why she believed she would have only one chance to find the afikomen.

“Because,” she said, “Josh always finds it.”

Hmm… “Really?”

“Yes. He always finds it. Because he has an advantage. He has wheels.”

And just like that I was clearly reminded of the importance and power of teaching our children to be accepting of disabilities.

Here’s what my daughter didn’t say:

“It’s not fair; Josh always wins because he’s in a wheelchair.”

“Josh will win; he always wins because his dad pushes him.”

“Josh wins because he gets help.”

Nope. Josh wins because he has the advantage of wheels.

We must teach all of our children to see the world through this lens. We live in a society that is far too quick to see disadvantage. If we are not deliberate, we will miss out on discovering the unique qualities that each of us possesses. Josh, in his wheelchair, with Cerebral Palsy and complicated medical issues, who only speaks a few words that my children readily understand, has an advantage.

Yes, yes he does.

Like this post? Get the best of Kveller delivered straight to your inbox.

Lisa Friedman

Lisa Friedman is widely recognized in the field of Jewish Special Education. She is currently an Education Director at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, New Jersey, where she has developed and oversees an inclusive synagogue school. She is also the Manager of Social Media and Alumni Networks for MatanLisa consults with Jewish organizations to guide them in the development of inclusive practices for staff, clergy and families through dialogue, interactive workshops and awareness training. Lisa is a sought after speaker on a wide variety of topics for professionals, lay leaders, teachers, parents and teens and blogs about disabilities and inclusion at Removing the Stumbling Block.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

Jewish Baby Name Finder


First Letter